The trouble with former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson is ... his reputation has made him a not very credible witness for the things he says. Be they nuanced or not. It was unfortunate that his point about people taking the results about what Stephen Curry does and not looking at everything else that lead up to it. The Fundamentals. Rather than me misquoting Jackson ... here is the full quote per Marc Spears:
"Understand what I'm saying when I say this. He's hurting the game," Jackson said. "And what I mean by that is that I go into these high school gyms, I watch these kids, and the first thing they do is they run to the 3-point line. You are not Steph Curry. Work on the other aspects of the game."
You can see why people took offense to that particular quote. Specifically with the "He's hurting the game" statement. In a boldface way, Curry is very GOOD for the game. Making the game relateable to people who aren't necessarily athletic freaks like LeBron James. (I'm saying this knowing full well that Curry was trained and taught by Dell Curry, one of the best shooting guards of the 1990's). In fact Nuggets coach Michael Malone agreed with the how curry has been relatable and is good for the game of basketball when I asked him about it at shoot around on Tuesday:
Malone makes a very good point. Helping those who don't have the athletic prowess of others and having them look at the game like THEY can play can only grow the game of basketball. Imagine the kid who's on the fringes of wanting an NBA career but deciding to work on their shot to the point where they become invaluable and even a STAR in the NBA? That can only help.
On the other hand Malone also added what Jackson was getting at and maybe the crux of the argument in the same answer. Understanding what Jackson was trying to get to about missing all that Curry did and DOES to get to where he is. Everything, all the hard work, all the time it takes. Player development at the AAU level is paramount and there are those who have concerns that AAU coaching will be lax in understanding what makes Curry ... well .... CURRY.
As I mentioned above it's all about trust. Do you TRUST that AAU coaches will be able to understand the coming wave of players who want to be like Steph Curry and shoot the impossible three point shot? This is where things begin. We've never had a player the likes of Curry in the NBA. One who is able to hit shots that would normally be considered low percentage and extremely risky. While Curry has given hope to players who don't have the athletic skill of LeBron ... it's important that youth coaching understand that they MUST instill the hard work and fundamental knowledge that players need as a foundation to become great NBA players
All in all, Steph Curry is a good thing for the NBA, but it's up to AAU, High School and even college coaches to understand that what Curry does is unique and his hard work is what should be emulated before the spectacular 35 foot three point shots begin dropping from the heavens. Even then, Curry is such a different talent and maybe people should forge their own path first and understanding their own skill set before they try to become another Steph Curry...
Because sometimes those who want to be a Curry end up being a Nick Young.